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Are the majority of students STILL waiting for their results?

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A poll conducted by Insite and filled in by around 100 University students indicates that the majority of University students have not yet received all of their exam results for Semester 2. 58% said that they are still waiting for at least one exam result. On the 25 July, the UMASA and the MUT lifted industrial directives that prohibited non final-year University students from receiving their results after coming to a compromise with the Government over the latest collective agreement.

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MMSA encourage students to sign petition

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The MMSA is pleased with that all the fourth year medical student results have been issued, as this will allow them to punctually apply for the Foundation Programme abroad. However, the MMSA will keep on representing its students’ best interests and press for the publication of all of the remaining results for the rest of the medical classes. They consider this particularly worrying for international students who are abroad, or those medical students who will be on a medical exchange in August. In a statement made to Insiteronline, MMSA encouraged students to sign the petition created by KSU that is aimed at pressuring the government and the unions to move forward with their negotiations. The petition can be found below.

 

https://www.change.org/en-GB/petitions/honourable-pm-joseph-muscat-ministers-evarist-bartolo-edward-scicluna-and-unions-umasa-mut-i-call-upon-you-to-stop-the-reluctance-to-move-forward-with-negotiations-students-are-not-bargaining-tools-or-chess-pawns-and-their-rights-aren-t-to-be-trample

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10 Reasons why you shouldn’t stay at UoM to study

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I’m not saying you should hibernate in the comfort of your home every time you have a break between lectures. But when you try to study at University, as I personally did during my first year, and realize you’ve learnt more from your fails rather than from actual revising, you kind of crave your own bedroom desk.

1. You don’t want to completely lose the last threads of social life you have left. Therefore, you decide to organize a study group. Face it, this plan is only successful in movies about American high schools. In reality, after spending what seem like hours to find the ideal group studying place, it’s only a matter of time until you start doubting yourself constantly when your friends ask you about their difficulties.

2. Ok, don’t organize a study group. By elimination, the only other option is booking a place at the library at 8am (even though your next lecture is in like 4 hours). But once you’re there you will start to doubt whether you can ever regain your social life, instead of trying to focus on your work.

3. UOM’s library is the most common yet unreliable studying place students endure. First, you have to find a locker and try to bum €2 off someone because you don’t own any change. If that fails, you end up leaving your possessions out in the open for anyone who feels like nicking them. It’s not like the library receptionist is the most reliable security guard.

4. Then comes the worst bit, finding a place in which normal human beings can actually immerse themselves for the next couple of hours. If you find a desk with a charger, you’re literally the luckiest person alive on campus. Unfortunately, the best you’re going to find will probably be the floor. Be thankful that at least it’s carpeted.

5. Maybe studying at University during the day whenever everyone is there isn’t the best idea. Want to try late night studying in the common room? Good luck with getting through even half of what you’re planning to cover. A comfortable room with air-conditioning, unlimited coffee and friends to comfort you can only result in procrastination mode level 100. And have you thought about whether you’ll even have enough strength to drive back home after that all-nighter?

6. If you want to have a ‘hot summer bod’ that is beach ready for after exams, you definitely will not benefit from the selection of food you can consume which is located nearby, and which doesn’t cost a fortune. And I’m not just talking about salted pizzas. Your diet will literally only consist of pastizzi, burgers and crepes.

7. Coffee is a student’s best friend. So imagine your distress when the machines to your nearest reach are either out of order, or decide to steal your money. You then have to actually drag yourself to the canteen. Or else carry around a thermos with you like some eskimo roaming around campus.

8. After some time stuck at University studying, it is understandable that the only form of communication with the outside world you will be able to indulge in would be social media. But at our University this is taken to a whole other level, where you will become surrounded by people capturing selfies and the constant sounds of Snapchat notifications. #Breakdown.

9. After all that planning and running around, you discover you have claustrophobic tendencies when in an enclosed space trying to study. It won’t be hard at all to find a green area where you can go instead. But apart from the comfortable spots in the shade being filled with other people most of the time, be careful of bugs, crumbs, broken or wet benches, and possibly bird poop.

10. In conclusion, if the library is full, the green areas are no longer green, IT services is closed and do not even consider the canteen as one of your possibilities, you should just go home and get on with it. Leave University to lectures, it’s already boring enough as it is.

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Moving with the Times

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After the success of last month’s visit to the TVM studios, the Insite team organized another media-related event to the Times of Malta premises in Valletta. This was a great opportunity not just for those undergoing the Communications course, but for any University students interested in taking up journalism in the future. It was in fact interesting to discover that the Times are in the process of setting up internships for prospective journalists, who as a result can obtain a highly recognized British diploma. There are also plans to pursue Insite, in a more consistent manner, in order to pinpoint members who would be ideal to join the Times.

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The news agency’s HR manager Mr. Matthew Naudi gave us a good insight into the everyday schedule of a Times journalist. A key recent change made to the Valletta offices, which he told us about, was the creation of an open plan space. Here all staff members, working on both the newspaper and online portal, can easily communicate and consult with each other, as opposed to the previous scenario of separate enclosed offices. As a result, the Times has become more efficient and speedy, to cater for its competition with other new local sites which are constantly popping up.

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The staff themselves admit the site’s dominating popularity over the Times paper, since of course it facilitates instant access to the latest stories. This is why a decision was taken to limit certain content on the site to premium paying users, with the purpose of encouraging more people to buy the newspaper. Unfortunately, although I can understand this move on behalf of the Times, I do not fully agree with it since it would automatically lead readers to access other completely free news portals to get the information they desire.

Over 100 employees, including about 60 journalists, constitute the team behind the oldest yet still most sought after local source of news. Apart from reporting stories and writing accurate articles, journalists are today expected to be more versatile in covering assignments on their own, possibly without the help of a cameraperson, or in being able to edit their own articles or videoclips to be published online. It was surprising to realize that, compared to the staff presiding over the newspaper, only a handful of people are fully responsible of updating the Times website. This is the reason why, they joking told us, we often see spelling mistakes in their online articles.

During the visit we were taken to the Times board room, almost synonymous to a huge dark office from an old American soap opera. Likewise is the drama to get the newspaper of the day after ready by an 11pm deadline, although a concrete plan of its content is already drawn up by the early afternoon. This deadline could easily induce pressure on staff when breaking news stories emerge in the evening, or numerous articles need to be updated due to new developments later in the day. It is occasional for the paper to be amended entirely with just minutes to spare before the printing in Mriehel commences.

Despite the fact that other Maltese news portals are sprouting everywhere, and many continuously criticize its journalists for not always observing ethical guidelines, the Times is opening its remits to more modern ways of spreading news both locally and internationally. It might be a very long time until we can make the assumption that the Times is no longer the most accessed source of information about current affairs in our islands.

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Malti or English? Maltese or Ingliz?

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The Maltese-English debacle has long been a topic of debate amongst us Maltese citizens. While not everyone would admit it, we all know of the existing divide that exists between the so called “true patriots” who believe that the native language should be the epitome of all languages, the “others” who think that English should be spoken along with Maltese, and the “extremists” who claim that English must be the sole tongue of the country.

As a language-lover, I find such issues both intriguing and ludicrous at the same time. First of all, I cannot fathom and get to grips with the classist mentality that still reigns among us which dictates that English speakers should be labelled as snobs or stuck-up, while people who insist in communicating only in Maltese are glued to the lower levels of the social ladder. It may seem far-fetched to think that anybody would still have this mentality in the 21st century, but I can still hear echoes of the words “hamalli” and “tal-pepe” resonating around social spheres on a daily basis. A stern reality-check seems is in order.
Drawing a parallel between the language you speak and a person’s social status or character is not as feasible an argument as it was a couple of decades ago, with the notorious “language question” which dominated the political sphere on the islands.

These “titles” lead to the unnecessary division between Maltese and English speakers. Although finding the middle road is ideal, one should be judged for choosing to converse in one particular language. English is often considered as more polite than Maltese but, in reality, one can be well mannered in either language. It all depends on how you carry yourself.

Such a division between the two languages is also evident at educational institutions. As a law student, I find it quite ironic that the main language that is used during our studies is English, in order to be able to cater for foreign students, but when we graduate and have to put our studies into practice, the official language used in the Courts is Maltese. Although this may seem to superficial example, the truth of the matter is that lawyers are expected to speak fluent Maltese. This is easier said than done because even though we are exposed to everyday Maltese, professional jargon is different. Since we are not introduced properly to this in our course, newly graduated students will find this task far from easy.

Perhaps another sensitive subject for Maltese people is the ‘language’ popularly known as ‘pepe’. The latter originated through the mashing up of Maltese and English. I cordially advise the speakers of this language to make a decision regarding which language they are comfortable in. Maltese and English are two diverse languages and even though they are both official languages, they should never be confused with one another. I would also like to clarify that people who shift to English just for a moment, to better express themselves, do not classify as speakers of the above-identified language.

This brings us to the identity aspect surrounding this dispute. A recent survey clearly illustrates that the Maltese population feel more united through the national language than religion. In fact, two-thirds of the respondents specifically stated that our mother tongue is part of the anatomy which makes us such a distinct population. On the contrary, bilingualism did not top the list of cultural identifiers. It is not sufficient to solely be proud of your language; you must practice what you preach. For Mikiel Anton Vassalli’s sake, do not distort the Maltese language into something unrecognisable, regardless of the increasing popularity of English due to its practicability and universality.

Malta is considered by the European Union as a country priding in being bilingual and sometimes even trilingual (if you introduce Italian to the picture). Despite these so-called linguistic skills, last year’s SEC annual examination reports paint a different picture since students are still seem to find the English Language exam quite challenging. In fact, the majority sitting for Paper A managed to obtain a grade of 3 or 4 whilst 619 from the 2216 students opting for Paper B got an Unclassified result. If you think that such statistics are appalling, take a look at the Maltese examination report. There was a higher failing rate in the latter than the former. If we want to be classified as bilingual, we need to keep up appearances and make that statement credible.

The debate between Maltese and English will not cease anytime soon. Both languages should be given their due importance. The beauty of Maltese should not be overlooked even though we are increasingly moving away from using Maltese and shifting to English. We must be pioneers of our national language and not ignore its use completely due to the mentality that English is more refined. Each and every language has its own characteristic features and Maltese should not be treated inferiorly to other native tongues. Even Gibberish is considered as a way of communication, why should we be ashamed of our language?

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Behind Bars: My visit to Corradino Correctional Facility

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One of the phrases I never believed I would ever say was ‘I’m off to prison’. Hold your gasps…I was not being detained as an inmate, I was merely going on a short tour of the facilities. For drammatic purposes I should say that I was up at the crack of dawn to be at the doors of the Corradino Correctional Facility in Rahal Gdid, with the cold air making chilling my bones to reflect the terror I would be experiencing very soon.

However, it was nothing like that. It was a hot Monday morning, and the facility is actually nothing like I had ever imagined it to be. Along with the rest of the group on tour, I entered through a side door where all the visitors come through. A few weeks before this particular morning we had to give our details such as our names, parents’ names, as well as if we knew anyone in prison, thus ensuring that the process on this morning was fairly straightforward. We presented our ID cards and received a tag with the word ‘visitor’ in return. Then we made our way to another section and were checked and frisked quickly to make sure we did not have anything on us, including phones. Only then could the tours finally begin.

First we were shown the chapel, and next to it, the mosque. Considering Malta is becoming very multicultural, it is good that others can practice their faith as well. The chapel itself was quite stunning, and it was especially surprising to learn that it was taken care of by the actual inmates. The floors were polished, the altar and the niches had been made by hand in one of the workshops. I wish I could have taken a photo then, because it was truly beautiful. It emphasised the capabilities of the ‘criminals’ we are so used to judging, and makes them appear more human rather than society’s delinquents.

What else can inmates during their free time in the facility? There is a football field with turf and a well known Maltese football player trains the team, which also takes part in tournaments. For those who prefer using their hands instead of feet, there are arts and crafts workshops. Everything the inmates make can be sold. The money made is then given to them upon their release. While we were there, an inmate presented the social worker on tour with us a gift as a thank you for all the help she provided them.

Inmates also have the option of following academic courses provided by ETC, MCAST and ITS. Prisoners who are trusted and have good conduct are even allowed to leave the correctional facility to attend these courses. Also, the certificates awarded do not indicate in the slightest that the course was undertaken while in prison.

All these options allow the inmate to have a chance at a better life once they get back out into the real world. One cannot help wondering how there is such a high percentage of prisoners who end up back in jail time despite all these activities to help reintegration into society. Is the problem the correctional facility, or society itself that does not allow them to reintegrate?

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